Learning Outcomes

Program Goals

Students majoring in chemistry will:

  • demonstrate understanding of fundamental chemical concepts through performance on assignments and exams (lecture setting) and laboratory experiments and reports (laboratory setting).
  • demonstrate a thorough knowledge of experimental approaches to solving problems of a chemical nature and have an ability to extend that knowledge to the solution of new problems.
  • demonstrate written and oral communication skills for conversing on a chemical nature.
  • demonstrate a proficiency in the discipline through discovery and validation of new knowledge in research projects.will apply skills of the discipline to analyze, interpret and communicate results of laboratory experiments and research.

Learning Outcomes

Students majoring in chemistry will:

  • demonstrate his/her mastery of the four principle disciplines: analytical, organic, inorganic, and physical chemistry.
  • demonstrate excellent critical thinking and problem solving abilities. S/he will be able to integrate chemical concepts and ideas learned in lecture courses with skills learned in laboratories to formulate hypotheses, propose and perform experiments, collect data, compile and interpret results and draw reasonable and logical conclusions.
  • demonstrate technical mastery of fundamental wet laboratory skills, use proper laboratory safety protocols, and demonstrate proficiency in using computers to solve chemical problems.
  • apply their experience and knowledge of the discipline in the successful conduct of at least 100 hours of undergraduate research.
  • demonstrate effective scientific communication skills – both written and oral. Students will be able to write reports and present the results of their own scientific works or the works of another scientist.

Chemistry and Biochemistry Major Updates and Changes

For all Chemistry and Biochemistry majors, there are a few changes to BOTH that do not show up on the USD Course Catalog but should be correct on your DARS.  Please pay close attention and work with your advisor to fully understand these changes.  The department webpage is tied to the old catalog system and cannot be updated at this point. 

Chem 396W/Chem 396: Only ONE section of Chem 396 as a “W” course (Chem 396W Research Methods) will only be offered for up to 8 students next semester (Fall 2016).  For all other chemistry and biochemistry majors, starting Fall 2016, Chem 396 will be offered without a “W” (Chem 396 Research Methods) which will be similar in content, but without the writing component, and will partially satisfy the research requirement.  The course will meet once per week (T or Th) for 80 minute for 1.5 units of credit. 

Research Graduation Requirement: Each Chemistry and Biochemistry major is still required to conduct a minimum of 100 hours of research.  Rather than enrolling in Chem 396W, students now can meet the research requirement by earning using Chem 496 during the academic year, summer, and/or intersession.  Successful completion of Chem 396 AND 100 hours of research on the same project, with the same faculty member will earn the student a “flag” on their DARS.  The research requirement can be met by one of the following mechanisms:

  • A student does research during the summer or intersession (if 100 hours threshold is not met, then these hours may be added to a 1-unit Chem 496 experience in a subsequent semester.  It is not necessary to enroll in Chem 496 for a summer or intersession research experience.  The experience can be in any USD science department as long as the project is substantially molecular in nature and approved by your academic advisor BEFORE starting the project.
  • Students can earn two Chem 496 units during the academic school year while doing research in a faculty member’s lab.  Unlike summer, the student MUST enroll in Chem 496.  The research can be conducted in any USD science department as long as the project is substantially molecular in nature and approved by your academic advisor BEFORE starting the project.  BOTH units must be with the same research mentor, on the same project, to count towards graduation.
    • Earn 2 units of Chem 496 in a single semester (8 hours/week)    OR
    • Earn 1 unit of  Chem 496 in any two semesters (4 hours/week). 
    • Off-campus research during the summer must be approved by your academic advisor prior to beginning the project.  The student MUST inform the department chair when complete.  Work with your academic advisor on this option to ensure the experience will count for graduation.
    • Students can use two semesters of Chem 498 Internship if taken for credit.  This option will only satisfy the 100 hours research requirement if taken AFTER completing the 4th semester or equivalent (for transfer students) at USD.

 New Course - CHEM 296:  CHEM 296 Introduction to Undergraduate Research.  This is a new course for faculty and students who are doing research that is not advanced enough to count for the 10- hour research requirement.  Work with your research advisor if you plan to take this course for credit.

 New Course – CHEM 498:  Chem 498 Internship is a 1-2 unit course (depending on hours per week worked) when students work off-campus with a company in a chemistry or biochemistry related internship.  Students can receive credit in addition to a salary.  This course can count towards the research graduation requirement.  Work with your faculty advisor and department chair if you are interested in such an opportunity.

Other Changes. 

  • For CHEM440, we will be removing the pre-requisite of CHEM311 although we still recommend you take CHEM311 before or concurrent with CHEM440.
  • CHEM311 is no longer a pre-requisite for CHEM312.  This will provide additional flexibility in scheduling your courses.

Changes to the Chemistry Major:  CHEM421, 423, and 425 will no longer be offered (beginning fall 2016) and all Chemistry majors will be required to take two upper division labs: CHEM422W and CHEM424 (see below for descriptions).

CHEM 422 Physical Methods (3 units): OFFERED EACH FALL SEMESTER

An advanced laboratory course which probes concepts in physical chemistry using instrumental techniques including spectroscopy, chromatography and microscopy.  Modern topics in physical chemistry, new technology in instrumentation, and computational data analysis will be integral parts of the laboratory in addition to some classical experiments and methods. Two laboratory period weekly. Fall semester. Prerequisites: CHEM 302, CHEM302L, CHEM 220, and completion or concurrent registration in CHEM 311.

CHEM 424 Advanced Synthesis (3 units): OFFERED EACH SPRING SEMESTER

An advanced laboratory course which integrates theory and experimental techniques from organic and inorganic chemistry. The course will focus on advanced topics of organic and inorganic chemistry (such as bioinorganic chemistry and organic materials) beyond CHEM 301L/302L/440. Emphasis will be placed on applications to the sub-fields of organic and inorganic chemistry. Two laboratory period weekly. Spring semester. Prerequisites: CHEM 220, 302, 302L, CHEM 440. Completion of CHEM 422 is recommended.

Changes to the Biochemistry Major:  For declared majors who started Organic Chemistry in Fall 2015 (i.e. graduating in May 2018 or later), the new requirements will apply to you.

We have made several changes to the Biochemistry major that we think will prepare you better for a variety of biochemistry related fields post-graduation.

  • Second semester Biochemistry Lecture II (CHEM332) is now required.
  • Molecular Biology Techniques (CHEM330) is required.
  • Choose either CHEM311 or CHEM312. If you are more interested in spectroscopy and molecular structure, you should take CHEM311. If you are more interested in thermodynamics and kinetics, you should take CHEM312.
  • There will no longer be a CHEM42X requirement. We will offer CHEM427 (Biophysical Chemistry Lab) every other year (next offering spring 2018), which we recommend you consider as an elective particularly if you are planning on going to graduate school.  You can take any one of the listed restricted electives shown below. 

- Chem 151/L/152/L:  G-Chem   (6)

- Chem 220: Analytical                   (3)

- Chem 301/L/302/L: O-Chem   (8)

- Chem 311: P-Chem I                       (3)

- Chem 314: Biophysical Chem    (3)

- Chem 331: Biochem Lec                (3)

- Chem 335: Biochem Lab              (3)

- Chem 396W  Research Meth.      (3)

- Chem 42X: U.D. Lab                         (3)

  - Chem Elective (see below)

Elective: Chem U.D. class OR         (3)

 Biol 342 (Microbiology), 376 (Animal Development), 480 (cell  physiology), 484 (Immunology)

- Chem 151/L/152/L:  G-Chem   (6)

- Chem 220: Analytical                   (3)

- Chem 301/L/302/L: O-Chem   (8)

- Chem 311 OR 312: P-Chem        (3)

- Chem 330: Mol Bio Tech.             (3)

- Chem 331: Biochem Lec I             (3)

- Chem 332: Biochem Lec II          (3)

- Chem 335: Biochem Lab              (3)

- Chem 396W  Research Meth.      (3)

  - Chem Elective (see below)

Elective:                                                (3)

 Upper Division Chem (such as Chem 427) or Biology restricted electives: Biol 342 (Microbiology), Biol376 (Animal Development), Biol 480 (Cell Physiology), Biol 484 (Immunology) and Biol 482 (Molecular Biol), Phys 340 Biophysics                                                        

CHEM 330 Techniques in Molecular Biology (3 units)

An introduction to recombinant DNA techniques including bacterial culture, transformation, nucleic acid purification, restriction analysis, DNA cloning, polymerase chain reaction, etc. Computer-based sequence analyses include database accession, BLAST, alignments, restriction analysis, gene-finding, and genomics. A cloning project generating new molecular reagents will be undertaken. 80 min of lecture and one 4-hour laboratory weekly. Every semester. Completion of CHEM 301/301L is recommended. Prerequisites: BIOL: 190, 225, 225L.

CHEM 332 Biochemistry II (3 units)

This course builds upon the concepts and foundations of Biochemistry I.  Biochemistry II includes a survey of the chemistry and metabolism of living systems, biosynthetic pathways signal transduction and contemporary cross-disciplinary biochemical topics. Three lectures weekly. Spring semester. Prerequisite: CHEM 331